Colombia is a unitary republic made up of thirty-two departments (Spanish: departamentos, sing. departamento) and a Capital District (Distrito Capital). Each department has a Governor (gobernador) and a Department Assembly (Asamblea Departamental), elected by popular vote for a four-year period. The governor cannot be re-elected in consecutive periods. Departments are country subdivisions and are granted a certain degree of autonomy.
Departments are formed by a grouping of municipalities (municipios, sing. municipio). Municipal government is headed by mayor (alcalde) and administered by a Municipal Council (concejo municipal), both of which are elected for four-year periods.
Some departments have subdivisions above the level of municipalities, commonly known as provinces.
|Capital district and departments of Colombia|
Distrito Capital y los Departamentos de Colombia (Spanish)
|Location||Republic of Colombia|
1 Capital District
|Populations||(Departments only):33,152 (Vaupés) – 5,750,478 (Antioquia)|
|Areas||(Departments only):50 km2 (19.3 sq mi) (San Andrés) – 109,665.0 km2 (42,341.89 sq mi) (Amazonas)|
|Government||Department government, National government|
Each one of the departments of Colombia in the map below links to a corresponding article. Current governors serving four-year terms from 2015 to 2019 are also shown, along with their respective political party or coalition.
|00||Capital District||Enrique Peñalosa||CR||Bogotá||1,587||8,254,722||1538|
|01||Amazonas||Manuel Antonio Carebilla Cuéllar||CR||Leticia||109,665||80,360||1991|
|03||Arauca||Ricardo Alvarado Bestene||La U||Arauca||23,818||282,302||1991|
|04||Atlántico||Eduardo I. Verano de la Rosa||Liberal||Barranquilla||3,388||2,365,663||1910|
|05||Bolívar||Dumek José Turbay Paz||Liberal||Cartagena||25,978||2,229,967||1857|
|06||Boyacá||Carlos Andrés Amaya Rodríguez||Green||Tunja||23,189||1,411,239||1539|
|07||Caldas||Guido Echeverri Piedrahíta||La U||Manizales||7,888||1,170,187||1905|
|08||Caquetá||Álvaro Pacheco Álvarez||Liberal||Florencia||88,965||463,333||1982|
|09||Casanare||Josue Alirio Barrera Rodríguez||CD||Yopal||44,640||325,713||1991|
|10||Cauca||Óscar Rodrigo Campo Hurtado||Liberal||Popayán||29,308||1,363,054||1857|
|11||Cesar||Francisco Fernando Ovalle Angarita||La U||Valledupar||22,905||1,050,303||1967|
|12||Chocó||Jhoany Carlos Alberto Palacios Mosquera||Liberal||Quibdó||46,530||413,173||1947|
|13||Córdoba||Edwin José Besaile Fayad||La U||Montería||25,020||1,392,905||1952|
|14||Cundinamarca||Jorge Emilio Rey Ángel||CR||Bogotá||24,210||2,680,041||1857|
|15||Guainía||Javier Eliecer Zapata Parrado||Liberal||Inirida||72,238||43,314||1963|
|16||Guaviare||Nebio De Jesús Echeverry Cadavid||AICO||San José del Guaviare||53,460||133,236||1991|
|17||Huila||Carlos Julio González Villa||CR||Neiva||19,890||994,218||1905|
|18||La Guajira||Oneida Rayeth Pinto Pérez||CR||Riohacha||20,848||524,619||1965|
|19||Magdalena||Rosa Cotes De Zuñiga||CR||Santa Marta||23,188||1,403,318||1824|
|22||Norte de Santander||William Villamizar Laguado||La U||Cúcuta||21,658||1,493,932||1910|
|23||Putumayo||Sorrel Parisa Aroca Rodríguez||Green||Mocoa||24,885||378,483||1991|
|24||Quindío||Carlos Eduardo Osorio Buritica||N/A||Armenia||1,845||613,375||1966|
|25||Risaralda||Sigifredo Salazar Osorio||Conservative||Pereira||4,140||1,024,362||1966|
|26||San Andrés y Providencia||Ronald Housni Jaller||Liberal||San Andrés||52||83,491||1991|
|27||Santander||Didier Alberto Tavera Amado||Liberal||Bucaramanga||30,537||2,085,084||1857|
|28||Sucre||Edgar Enrique Martínez Romero||CR||Sincelejo||10,917||868,648||1966|
|29||Tolima||Óscar Barreto Quiroga||Conservative||Ibagué||23,562||1,312,972||1886|
|30||Valle del Cauca||Dilian Francisca Toro Torres||La U||Cali||22,140||4,524,678||1910|
|31||Vaupés||Jesús María Vásquez Caicedo||CR||Mitú||54,135||33,152||1991|
|32||Vichada||Luis Carlos Álvarez Morales||La U||Puerto Carreño||100,242||97,276||1991|
The indigenous territories are at the third level of administrative division in Colombia, as are the municipalities. Indigenous territories are created by agreement between the government and indigenous communities. In cases where indigenous territories covering more than one department or municipality, local governments jointly administer them with the indigenous councils, as set out in Articles 329 and 330 of the Colombian Constitution of 1991. Also indigenous territories may achieve local autonomy if they meet the requirements of the law.
Article 329 of the 1991 constitution recognizes the collective indigenous ownership of indigenous territories and repeats that are inalienable. Law 160 of 1994 created the National System of Agrarian Reform and Rural Development Campesino, and replaced Law 135 of 1961 on Agrarian Social Reform; it establishes and sets out the functions of INCORA, one of the most important being to declare which territories will acquire the status of indigenous protection and what extension of existing ones will be allowed. Decree 2164 of 1995 interprets Law 160 of 1994, providing, among other things, a legal definition of indigenous territories.
Indigenous territories in Colombia are mostly in the departments of Amazonas, Cauca, La Guajira, Guaviare and Vaupés.
When it was first established in 1819, República de la Gran Colombia had three departments. Venezuela, Cundinamarca (now Colombia) and Quito (now Ecuador). In 1824 the Distrito del Centro (which became Colombia) was divided into five departments, and further divided into seventeen provinces. One department, Istmo Department, consisting of two provinces later became Panama.
With the dissolution of Gran Colombia in 1826 by the Revolution of the Morrocoyes (La Cosiata), New Granada kept its 17 provinces. In 1832 the provinces of Vélez and Barbacoas were created, and in 1835 those of Buenaventura and Pasto were added. In 1843 those of Cauca, Mompós and Túquerres were created. At this time the cantons (cantones) and parish districts were created, which provided the basis for the present-day municipalities.
By 1853 the number of provinces had increased to thirty-six, namely:Antioquia, Azuero, Barbacoas, Bogotá, Buenaventura, Cartagena, Casanare, Cauca, Chiriquí, Chocó, Córdova, Cundinamarca, García Rovira, Mariquita, Medellín, Mompós, Neiva, Ocaña, Pamplona, Panamá, Pasto, Popayán, Riohacha, Sabanilla, Santa Marta, Santander, Socorro, Soto, Tequendama, Tunja, Tundama, Túquerres, Valle de Upar, Veraguas, Vélez and Zipaquirá. However, the new constitution of 1853 introduced federalism, which lead to the consolidation of provinces into states. By 1858 this process was complete, with a resulting eight federal states: Panamá was formed in 1855, Antioquia in 1856, Santander in May 1857, and Bolívar, Boyacá, Cauca, Cundinamarca and Magdalena were formed in June 1858. 1861 saw the creation of the final federal state of Tolima.
The Amazonas Department (Spanish: Departamento del Amazonas, Spanish pronunciation: [amaˈsonas]) is a department of Colombia in the south of the country. It is the largest department in area while also having the 3rd smallest population. Its capital is Leticia and its name comes from the Amazon River, which drains the department.Atlántico Department
Atlántico (Spanish pronunciation: [atˈlantiko], English: Atlantic) is a department of Colombia, located in northern Colombia with the Caribbean Sea to its north, the Bolívar Department to its west and south separated by the Canal del Dique, and the Magdalena Department to its east separated by the Magdalena River. It is the third-smallest of the country's departments but its population of 2,272,170 makes it one of the most densely populated.
Its capital is Barranquilla. Other important cities include Soledad and Malambo.Boyacá Department
Boyacá (Spanish pronunciation: [boʝaˈka]) is one of the thirty-two departments of Colombia, and the remnant of Boyacá State, one of the original nine states of the "United States of Colombia".
Boyacá is centrally located within Colombia, almost entirely within the mountains of the Eastern Cordillera to the border with Venezuela, although the western end of the department extends to the Magdalena River at the town of Puerto Boyacá. Boyacá borders to the north with the Department of Santander, to the northeast with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and Norte de Santander, to the east with the departments of Arauca and Casanare. To the south, Boyacá borders the department of Cundinamarca and to the west with the Department of Antioquia covering a total area of 23,189 square kilometres (8,953 sq mi). The capital of Boyacá is the city of Tunja.
Boyacá is known as "The Land of Freedom" because this region was the scene of a series of battles which led to Colombia's independence from Spain. The first one took place on 25 July 1819 in the Pantano de Vargas and the final and decisive battle known as the Battle of Boyacá was fought on 7 August 1819 at Puente de Boyacá.
Boyacá is home to three universities: the Universidad Pedagógica y Tecnológica de Colombia (UPTC), the Universidad de Boyacá (UNIBOYACA), and the Saint Thomas Aquinas University.Caldas Department
Caldas (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈkaldas]) is a department of Colombia named after Colombian patriotic figure Francisco José de Caldas. It is part of the Paisa Region and its capital is Manizales. The population of Caldas is 1,030,062, and its area is 7,291 km². Caldas is also part of the Colombian Coffee-Growers Axis region along with the Risaralda and Quindio departments.Caquetá Department
Caquetá Department (Spanish pronunciation: [kakeˈta]) is a department of Colombia. Located in the Amazonas region, Caquetá borders with the departments of Cauca and Huila to the west, the department of Meta to the north, the department of Guaviare to the northeast, the department of Vaupés to the east, the departments of Amazonas and Putumayo to the south covering a total area of 88,965 km², the third largest in the country. Its capital is the city of Florencia.Casanare Department
Casanare Department (Spanish pronunciation: [kasaˈnaɾe], Spanish: Departamento de Casanare) is a department in the central eastern region of Colombia.
Its capital is Yopal, which is also the episcopal seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Yopal.
It contains oil fields and an 800 km pipeline leading to the coastal port of Coveñas owned by BP.Cundinamarca Department
Department of Cundinamarca (Departamento de Cundinamarca, Spanish pronunciation: [kundinaˈmaɾka]) is one of the departments of Colombia. Its area covers 22,623 square kilometres (8,735 sq mi) (not including the Capital District) and it has a population of 2,598,245 as of 2013. It was created on August 5, 1886 under the constitutional terms presented on the same year. Cundinamarca is located in the center of Colombia.
Cundinamarca's capital city is Bogotá, the capital of Colombia. This is a special case among Colombian departments, since Bogotá is not legally a part of Cundinamarca, yet it is the only department that has its capital designated by the Constitution (if the capital were to be ever moved, it would take a constitutional reform to do so, instead of a simple ordinance passed by the Cundinamarca Assembly). In censuses, the populations for Bogotá and Cundinamarca are tabulated separately; otherwise, Cundinamarca's population would total over 10 million.Córdoba Department
Córdoba Department (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈkoɾðoβa], Spanish: Departamento de Córdoba) is a Department of the Republic of Colombia located to the north of this country in the Colombian Caribbean Region. Córdoba faces to the north with the Caribbean Sea, to the northeast with the Sucre Department, east with the Bolívar Department and south with the Antioquia Department. Its capital is the city of Montería.Government entities of Colombia
The Government entities of Colombia (Spanish: Entidades Gubernamentales de Colombia) are entities of the government of Colombia. The government entities is made up by commissions, control agencies, administrative departments, directorates, funds, superintendencies, among other. Some of these agencies are under the supervision of the President of Colombia with special autonomy.Guaviare Department
Guaviare (Spanish pronunciation: [ɡwaˈβjaɾe]) is a department of Colombia. It is in the southern central region of the country. Its capital is San José del Guaviare. Guaviare was created on July 4, 1991 by the new Political Constitution of Colombia. Up until that point, it was a national territory that operated as a Commissariat, segregated from territory of the then Commissariat of Vaupés on December 23, 1977.Huila Department
Huila (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈwila]) is one of the departments of Colombia. It is located in the southwest of the country, and its capital is Neiva.List of Colombian departments by GDP
This is a list of Colombian departments by gross domestic product in 2016.Meta Department
Meta (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈmeta]) is a department of Colombia. It is close to the geographic center of the country, to the east of the Andean mountains. A large portion of the department, which is also crossed by the Meta River, is covered by a grassland plain known as the Llanos. Its capital is Villavicencio. The department has a monument placed in the very geographic centre of Colombia, at a place known as Alto de Menegua, a few kilometers from Puerto López.
Achagua, which is similar to Piapoco, is an Indigenous language spoken by a minority in the department.Nariño Department
Nariño (Spanish pronunciation: [naˈɾiɲo]) is a department of Colombia named after independence leader Antonio Nariño. Its capital is Pasto. It is in the west of the country, bordering Ecuador and the Pacific Ocean.
Nariño has a diverse geography and varied climate according to altitude: hot in the plains of the Pacific and cold in the mountains, where most of the population resides, a situation that is repeated in a north-south direction. Other important cities include Tumaco and Ipiales.Putumayo Department
Putumayo (Spanish pronunciation: [putuˈmaʝo]) is a department of Colombia. It is in the south-west of the country, bordering Ecuador and Peru. Its capital is Mocoa.
The word putumayo comes from the Quechua languages. The verb p'utuy means "to spring forth" or "to burst out", and mayu means river. Thus it means "gushing river".Risaralda Department
Risaralda (Spanish pronunciation: [risaˈɾalda]) is a department of Colombia. It is located in the western central region of the country and part of the Paisa Region. Its capital is Pereira.
It was divided from the department of Caldas in 1966. Risaralda is very well known for the high quality of its coffee, and a booming industry: clothes, food, trading of goods and services.
The territory is very mountainous and has many kinds of climates in a very small area. Its proximity to harbours such as Buenaventura on the Pacific Ocean and to the biggest cities in Colombia – Bogotá, Cali, Medellín – makes it a fast-growing economic centre.Vaupés Department
Vaupés (Spanish pronunciation: [bawˈpes]) is a department of Colombia in the jungle covered Amazonas Region. It is located in the southeast part of the country, bordering Brazil to the east, the department of Amazonas to the south, Caquetá to the west, and Guaviare, and Guainía to the north; covering a total area of 54,135 km². Its capital is the town of Mitú.Vichada Department
Vichada Department (Spanish: Departamento del Vichada, Spanish pronunciation: [biˈtʃaða]) is a department of the Republic of Colombia in South America. Vichada is located in the eastern plains of Colombia, in the Orinoquía Region within the Orinoco river basin bordering the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the north and east. To the north the department also borders with Arauca Department, to the northwest with Casanare Department, to the west with Meta Department, to the southwest narrowly bordering with Guaviare Department and to the south with Guainía Department. The department is the second largest in Colombia and scarcely populated in comparison to other departments.
The department was previously a commissary established in 1913.
The largest town and capital of the department is Puerto Carreño located in extreme northeastern part of the department and bordering Venezuela. the department is subdivided into four municipalities; Puerto Carreño, La Primavera, Santa Rosalía and Cumaribo. It also contains 46 indigenous reserves and 6 communities.